Eric Enge, one of the world’s most respected search engine optimisation experts, recently got to interview Matt Cutts of Google, the public face of the team who ultimately decide if our websites get to the top of the world’s dominant search engine. I’ve had the opportunity to chat to Matt myself on a couple of occasions, and he’s a really personable guy, but trust me, if you think he’s ever going to “fix” your site’s ranking in Google, you’re wasting your time! The queue for his attention would stretch across the Atlantic if that was the case.
However, Eric asked some questions which were good enough to elicit some useful information from Matt. Particularly interesting is the discussion on how Google allocates resources to “crawling” the web. Clearly the search engine can’t check every page on your site every day, so how frequently does it come round, and how “deep” into your site will it index? It turns out the overall strength of your site (or “PageRank”) is important, as is the proximity of the pages to the top in your site’s hierarchy. The issue of “canonicalization”, which I’ve mentioned before, also has an impact. If there are many ways of addressing each of your website’s pages, and you haven’t told Google which to use, then the search engine may see lots of copies of the same page and use up its resources on the same pages over and over again.